Allendale Columbia School Ranked As One Of Newsweek’s Top 5,000 STEM High Schools in America

Posted on December 19th, 2019 by acsrochester

Allendale Columbia School was recently ranked as one of Newsweek’s Top 5,000 STEM High Schools in America. More than 30,000 high schools in the country were analyzed over a three-year period to determine the rankings. Newsweek, with its long history of reporting on scientific breakthroughs, technological revolutions and societal challenges, partnered with STEM.or to rank America’s Best STEM High Schools.

Recent AC STEM Activities

NASA Thanks AC Sixth Grade Citizen Scientists for Their Research
AC sixth graders just completed a month-long citizen science project through NASA’s GLOBE Program, recording more than 330 cloud observations. On December 17th, the class virtually met with NASA Education Specialist Marile Colon Robles who thanked the students for their work and reiterated the importance their cloud data plays in NASA’s on-going studies. Read more


“Girls Who Code” Club Represent AC at Rochester Maker Faire
This past November, Allendale Columbia School was a sponsor at the Rochester Maker Faire, where our “Girls Who Code” club taught visitors how to make brush bots and paper circuits. Read more


AC Robotics Teams Compete at Local FIRST Robotics Competitions
Four AC robotics teams recently competed in local FIRST robotics competitions. Representing the lower school in the FIRST Lego Robotics City Shaper challenge, were the “Wolf Pack” and the “Lightning Boltz”, led by AC faculty member Donna Chaback. Teresa Parsons, with the help of AC parent John Palomaki, led our middle school team, the “AC Aces”, while the upper school team, “Team 11779”, led by Phil Schwartz and Maya Crosby, competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge. Read more


Second Graders Learn About Cities by Meeting with a City Planner and Building Their Own!
Second graders met with Manager of Special Projects for the City of Rochester, Erik Frisch to discuss different transportation systems and learn more about the City of Rochester as they planned and created their own city, Birchville. Read more


AC-RIT Collaboration Continues to Thrive and Enrich Learning Opportunities for Students
Students in Math 7, Math 8, Algebra I, and Honors Algebra II continue to participate in a series of classes with RIT. Most recently, students conducted a color absorption experiment using RIT’s light equipment, and they have also recently learned about cryptography and the use ciphers to create and crack codes. Read more

Posted in: AC in the News, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches

Second Graders Learn About Cities by Meeting with a City Planner and Building Their Own!

Posted on December 10th, 2019 by acsrochester
Learning about cities
As part of our project-based learning in Lower School, our second graders are learning about cities and what goes into designing and building one. Project-based learning is dependent upon the collaboration of several teachers and in-depth planning. Throughout this unit, the classroom teacher, Annie King, sought the expertise of our STEM teacher, Donna Chaback and our art teacher, Shari Ellmaker. They worked on concepts of engineering and the arts as they designed blueprints of their ideal city and then worked in teams to decide where certain businesses, landforms, and organizations should be located. Once they had a plan to propose, they presented their ideas to a mock city planning board comprised of Head of School, Mr. Gee, Head of Lower School Mrs. Feiss, Head of Middle School Mrs. Duver, Director of the AC Invent Center Ms. Crosby, and Director of Food Service Mrs. Reynolds.


Meeting with a Rochester City Planner to learn about transportation systems
After receiving feedback from the mock city planning board, the students were ready to design their own 3-D city. Public transportation was an issue the mock planning board raised, so the second grade students began their research in this area and quickly became experts learning about a variety of traditional and cutting edge transportation systems. They were captivated to learn about Elon Musk’s Hyperloop train as well as Sea Bubbles which are being tested in Paris, France. They also met Manager of Special Projects for the City of Rochester, Erik Frisch to discuss different transportation systems and learn more about the city of Rochester as they planned and created their own city, Birchville.


“What about a homeless shelter?” turns into donating to RAIHN
Next, students wrote and sent emails to members of the AC community asking what is needed to make a community great. One response they got was about a homeless shelter and how shelters are an integral part of a community. Once the students learned this, a deep and meaningful class discussion took place, resulting in their decision to include a homeless shelter in Birchville. This conversation also moved them to want to take immediate action to help those affected by homelessness in the Rochester community, so they decided to sell the crock-pot applesauce they’d been making in their classroom each week. The sale generated $140 which the students then donated to RAIHN, a non-profit that assists homeless families to achieve sustainable independence by supporting them with shelter, food, personalized case management and a network of caring volunteers.


Community Art
The students decided early on that they wanted art to be a part of Birchville, so they took a field trip around Rochester viewing a variety of sculptures to help determine what they wanted in their own city.  Then, Art Teacher Mrs. Ellmaker helped them design a collaborative sculpture (called “Colorful Life”) which is located in the center of Birchville.
The formal “ribbon-cutting” of Birchville was held on Monday, December 9th. Click here to view the Spectrum News coverage of this event.
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Posted in: AC in the News, Authentic Learning, Highlights, Lower School, LS Birches, Second Grade, The Birches

HAC Girls Cross Country Captures Finger Lakes Championship

Posted on November 13th, 2019 by acsrochester

October 28, 2019

Wayne, N.Y. – In one of the most tightly contested Wayne-Finger Lakes Championship races in recent history, the varsity girls cross country team took 1st place overall by just a single point in the varsity ‘A’ race at Wayne High School on Saturday morning. The Wolves (115 team points) narrowly took 1st place overall as the top-4 teams were separated by just 4 points.

HAC was able to beat out Waterlo0 (2nd place – 116 team points), Wayne (3rd place – 117 team points) and Red Creek (4th – 118 team points) as they were led by sophomore Mary Cotter who took 3rd place overall out of 99 runners in a time of 20:26.

Senior Liza Cotter was HAC’s next fastest runner earning an 11th overall finish in 21:28. She was followed by 8th grader Evelyn Kacprzynski who ran a career-best 5k time of 22:25 while placing 27th overall. Tea Malone-Bonacci also ran a personal-best as she finished in 29th place in 22:30. She was followed by Emmy Kaza (24:01) who placed 51st and Olivia Woodring (24:30) who finished 53rd overall. Rounding out HAC’s top-7 runners was junior Zoe Crego who placed 58th overall in 24:42 to help secure the Wolves Finger Lakes League meet championship.

The race featured 14 different schools from the Wayne-Finger Lakes Area. The Wolves depth and team were also tested as they were missing one of their top runners in senior Roxy Reisch due to illness.

“HAC’s girls gutted out a thrilling victory in which a mere 4 points separated the top 4 teams,” said head coach Dan Deckman. “I have never seen anything quite like it in cross country. Every single point and every single runner truly played a decisive role in the win.  It was a full team accomplishment that I will never forget.”

Meanwhile, the HAC varsity boys cross country runners also turned out a terrific performance as junior Ryan Mogauro paced the Wolves in the varsity ‘A’ race with a 60th overall finish in 19:48.

He was followed Zach Ellis who’s time of 20:23 placed him in 76th overall. Finishing right behind Ellis was Ming DeMers in 77th place (20:26) and Greg Castellano in 78th place (20:38). Ethan Hearne set a new personal-best 5k time in 21:09 en route to a 94th place finish, while Julian Quesada (22:12) and James Hawkins (24:20) rounded out HAC’s top-7 finishers by placing 111th and 129th respectively.

The boys race featured 133 racers from 19 different school districts.

HAC will race next at the Section V Championship race at Midlakes High School this upcoming Saturday, November 2nd. The girls will race in the Class C race that begins at 1:00 PM and the boys will race in the Class D race that begins at 2:30 PM.


Complete Wayne-Finger Lakes League Championship results can be found here.

Posted in: AC in the News, Highlights, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches

HAC Varsity Volleyball Team Wins Section V Class D2 Championship

Posted on November 13th, 2019 by acsrochester

November 11, 2019

Fairport, N.Y. – HAC’s varsity volleyball team are Section V Class D2 Champions after winning 3-0 over the no. 2 seeded Lyons Lions at Fairport High School on Friday evening. The Wolves won 25-18, 25-12 and 25-14 to remain unbeaten at 21-0 on the season and earn their 1st sectional championship since 2013. It was also HAC’s 5th sectional championship title in program history.

The Wolves had many outstanding individual highlights through the match. Freshman setter Tori Colosimo was named Section V Class D2 Tournament MVP and also earned Section V Class D2 All-Tournament Team honors. She tallied 21 assists, 2 kills, 2 aces and 1 block in the championship match.


Senior middle hitter Gia Chaney helped the Wolves with 7 kills, 1 block and 1 ace, while fellow senior and outside hitter Francesca Sorbello added 6 kills, 3 digs and 1 ace. For their performances throughout the tournament, both were name to Section V’s Class D2 All-Tournament Team.


Senior right side hitter Desiree Silver added 6 kills and junior middle hitter Chinara Dorancy notched 4 kills and 2 blocks in the victory.


“I thought we played well and were aggressive,” said head coach Amy Colosimo. “The girls were ready, were prepared and wanted to win. The chemistry of this team has been outstanding. For the majority of seniors, it was their third sectional finals, and through their experiences, (they) knew what they had to do and had been working to win a (sectional) championship all season long. Our team is mentally tough and they never give up; they constantly fight. They shake off their errors and get ready for the next point. We know we can’t take anything for granted and I’m very proud of them.”


For her efforts, head coach Amy Colosimo was named both Finger Lakes West Coach of the Year and Section V Class D2 Coach of the Year. It was the 2nd year in a row that Coach Colosimo had earned such honors. Colosimo has been the head varsity volleyball coach at HAC for 20 years and has been to 6 sectional finals matches and has earned over 250 wins in her career.


Clinching the sectional championship means the Wolves will play next against either Bloomfield or Hammondsport in the New York State Class D Regional Playoffs on Thursday, November 14 at Canandaigua High School at 5:30 PM.


The Wolves have won sectional titles in 1979, 2010, 2011 and 2013. HAC’s last unbeaten regular season came last in 1995 when they finished 17-0.


Photos from the match by Marisa Nicodemus can be found on our Facebook page.
Main Photo by: Shaun Jeffers and courtesy of Section V.
Posted in: AC in the News, Highlights, The Birches, Upper School, US Birches

NASA Langley Research Center Director Encourages Students to Do Things THEIR Way

Posted on October 16th, 2019 by Amelia Fitzsimmons

Director of the NASA Langley Research Center, Clayton Turner, returned to campus to discuss the important role our 6th grade students play in on-going scientific studies and research. As a GLOBE school, AC students serve as citizen scientists reporting daily cloud observations to help researchers improve the interpretation of satellite readings, provide ground-based data on contrails, and help better calculate the rate of heat exchange in the atmosphere.

Mr. Turner encouraged students to follow their passions, ask questions, and do research THEIR way. “There are many ways to learn and many pathways to success. These different approaches are often how we make new discoveries. Find what YOU are passionate about and the way that fits YOU!”


Posted in: AC in the News, Highlights, Middle School, MS Birches, Sixth Grade, The Birches

AC Faculty Member Beth Guzzetta Recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted on October 16th, 2019 by Amelia Fitzsimmons

AC faculty member, Beth Guzzetta, was presented with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) in October 2019. The PAEMST Award is the highest award given by the U.S. Government to K-12 teachers. Beth was one of four teachers selected from New York State to receive this honor. Nominations and awards were facilitated by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Science Foundation, and a panel of distinguished mathematicians, scientists, and educators at the state and national levels.

“It is an extreme honor to receive the prestigious Presidential Award. I am grateful to those who have inspired me to pursue my passion for bringing creativity to the classroom. Receiving this award refuels my drive to instill the joy of learning within my students so they realize the impact they have on the local and global community, and continue their pursuit of knowledge. With this award comes the responsibility to share my experience with other educators so that they, too, may be inspired.”

Beth Guzzetta has been an educator for over 25 years, spending the last 19 years teaching at Allendale Columbia School. She currently teaches seventh-grade Life Science and sixth and eighth-grade mathematics. She also taught at DeSales High School in Geneva, NY and schools in Massachusetts and Florida.

Beth’s love for science helps her develop innovative projects on campus. She runs a maple sugaring project, a honeybee apiary, and a trout project. After school and in the summer, she runs science camps to excite and engage younger scientists.


Global connections and scientific research are areas that she enjoys sharing with her students through domestic and international trips. These experiences have brought her and her students to Madagascar for biodiversity and archaeology research, the Florida Keys for marine biology research, and Camp Pathfinder in Canada and the Adirondack Mountains for outdoor education.

Beth’s leadership among educators has led her to conduct annual presentations at the National Science Teachers Association National Conference since 2012 and presentations at the Science Teachers Association of NY. She is also a National Geographic Certified Educator.

Beth has a B.A. in mathematics from St. John Fisher College and a M.Ed. from Curry College. She is certified in secondary mathematics and elementary education.


Posted in: AC in the News, Eighth Grade, Highlights, Middle School, MS Birches, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, The Birches

AC Alum Recognized as 2018 CNN Hero

Posted on November 9th, 2018 by cnickels

Veterans Day celebrates our soldiers and marines who served this country or, in some cases, made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. But what about all those people who help our troops? The people who live in the country that is being torn apart by war. The people who risk their lives to help our soldiers communicate, navigate, and survive. What about them?

Matt Zeller, an AC Class of 2000 alum, left our campus with ideas of being a lawyer or a politician and went on to earn degrees from Hamilton College and Syracuse University before joining the U.S. Army.

In 2008 his life, and his future, changed forever. (more…)

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Posted in: AC in the News, Alumni News, Authentic Learning, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights

Seventh Graders Build Independence, Resilience, and Community at Camp Pathfinder

Posted on October 5th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Aaron Shepard, Rachael Sanguinetti, and Seth Hopkins

Seventh graders went to Camp Pathfinder for five days. Click to view more photos.

Seventh graders went to Camp Pathfinder for five days. Click to view more photos.

Allendale Columbia’s seventh grade recently spent a week hiking, biking, and canoeing in the Canadian wilderness at Camp Pathfinder, a camp for boys owned and operated by AC alumnus Mike Sladden ’76. It’s located on Pathfinder Island on Source Lake in Ontario’s Algonquin Provincial Park. Students spent five days working together and learning a variety of outdoor skills, including fire building and shelter construction. They also explored the history of painter Tom Thomson, a prolific 20th-century Canadian artists who died in the park under mysterious circumstances and was one of the first voices to articulate a Canadian national identity. (more…)

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Posted in: AC in the News, Authentic Learning, Highlights, Middle School, Seventh Grade